Food that we waste may look a little in our waste bins, but calculated over a period of time, it equals a big amount of money thrown in the dustbin, as well as a lot of harm done to the environment.
Did you know that the amount of food wasted around the world produces about 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases? In the US, the amount of wasted food takes up more space than plastic or paper waste. Almost 30 percent of the world’s total land is used to produce food that is eventually thrown out as waste. Most of the food that is wasted is produced in areas where the quality of soil is already poor, thus leading to more pressure on the poor source of land.
A lot of the processes involved in food making, such as growing food, distributing it, storing as well as cooking it also use up various resources such as water, fuel and energy, all of which are wasted when we throw the food away.
Big figures right? Come to think of it, there’s a lot we can do to save the situation, and the first step will begin at home.
How Do I Reduce Food Wastage?
1. Plan Ahead – Go through the food you have at home, including raw, cooked or packaged food. Make a meal plan for the entire week to know exactly what you’ll be cooking or eating, and buy the ingredients accordingly. If you feel you may have to eat out on some days, for work or personal commitments, buy less. You can always pick up more supplies later. Alternatively, plan for half the week and buy fresh stock again. Make a list so that you know exactly what you need. Have your meal and then step out, as we end up buying more on an empty stomach.
2. Shop At Fresh Markets – Locate a local farmers’ market to get the best produce at reasonable rates, and free of preservatives. You will find all types of produce here, unlike only the aesthetically pleasing ones you find at supermarket stores. Most high end supermarket chains avoid selling crooked vegetables and fruits to keep the stock visually appealing. The food that does not ‘look good’ often goes to waste. When you pick your produce at the local farmer market, you avoid that wastage.
3. Buy What You Need – Offers may sound tempting, for instance when you get a huge box of vegetables at the cost of barely a fraction of what you’re actually buying. In reality, you may not be able to eat it soon enough, and a lot of the food could eventually go to waste. Pick up whole fruits and vegetables instead of the pre-cut ones, as they have a much smaller shelf life.
4. Store Smartly – While storing the food in your bag or in the fridge, do it in such a way that they do not get squished or damaged. When you’re storing it in your fridge vegetable box, don’t try to pack in as much as you can. Instead, leave some space for the food to be able to breathe, literally. Once home, check the foods that have to be put in the freezer or fridge and store immediately. Store newer food at the back of the shelves so that you can use up the older ones first.
Easy steps we all know we can follow on an everyday basis, even if our lifestyles are super busy. Do try them out if you can and let me know if it actually helped you prevent food wastage. And I promise I’m coming back with another post about how I’m teaching my kids to stop wasting food (effective tips actually). By the way, if you already have your own tips on the same, I’m all ears 🙂
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